Flavoured vodka has been a staple on the market, and drinks cabinet, for awhile now. The flavours are probably aimed at the younger drinker, who wants to escape the somewhat neutral or somewhat chemical waste taste of cheaper vodkas. The flavours range from the sublime to the ridiculous, is there a sugar laden fruit concoction that hasn't been pillaged yet ?
Don't get me wrong, I like a good flavoured vodka as much as the next bon vivant and I have indeed whittled away many an hour infusing my own concoctions, indeed you could argue the point that gin is in fact flavoured vodka. The keyword in that sentence is of course GOOD (and not bon vivant - how many of you are already typing that in google?) Every once in a while you get a vodka that stands out from the crowd, I like to label these as gourmet vodkas.
Now I've established my position, time for the actual review.
I make no pretence about being a fan of the Chase range of beverages, I was introduced to Chase by my learned cousin and fellow compatriot here on GGG on a happy birthday a few years ago. For those of you not in the know William Chase is the potato king behind Tyrrell's crisps, but what is a man with excess potatoes going to waste going to do with them? Why you are going to make vodka out of them! In 2008 the Chase distillery opened its door with a fine range of products; this review is concerned with one of their newer experiments - Chase English Oak Smoked vodka.
This is a small production run of 1000 bottles. It has a light smoky nose to it, that really packs a punch on your first sip. It take me back to being at school (no I wasn't already a raging alcoholic by then) eating a packet of frazzles with my friends in the playground. For those of you who haven't had the culinary delight of Frazzles they are a corn based smoky bacon crisp snack, so to me this vodka represents camaraderie and fun times.
Smoky bacon pretty much sums up the flavour to me, before you turn your nose up in disdain - try it. I can honestly say this vodka is one of the few I could drink neat and icy cold, it makes an interesting martini and a superb bloody Mary. In many ways it is more akin to a tequila than a vodka with its smoky taste, but lacks the unpleasant saltiness of cheaper tequilas. It would be a welcomed addition to any connoisseurs collection.
Rating: 9/10 (I would go for 10, but the smokiness might not suit everyone)
Average price: £34.39